A local neighbourhood bistro serving moderately-priced food, containing mostly local and organic ingredients. Open 7 days a week, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On weekends they serve brunch. Live music on Fridays and Mondays.
I've been to this place twice because I live nearby. the first time our server was polite enough but nothing special and the food did take a long time to get to us. The food was OK but nothing special. We went back again a few weeks ago for breakfast: we walked up the steps and saw the door to the restaurant was propped open with a chair as it had been the last time we were there and the outside tables were all set up because we contemplated sitting there, instead we walked inside. there were two girls behind the bar area that both looked up with nasty looks on their faces, one turned around and started to do something on the back counter, the other continued counting money and didn't say anything to us. We filed in and sat at a booth by the window. AFTER we were settled, the girl counting money looked over to us and informed us nastily that they were closed and could we please leave! The other girl started to laugh. We got up and walked out amazed that someone could have been that rude!! Why have the door propped open and the tables outside set if you're not open?! Plus, why not say something to us as soon as we walked in the door instead of giving us a dirty look and waiting until we sat down. Too bad because it's close and had decent enough food but that was just to rude for us to excuse!!
Heron Rock used to be like a litte hidden gem in the city. Tucked away in a location that is not obvious to the eye, it makes it less of a notorious or crowded place to arrive to, which gives it a sort of intimacy that other restaurants lack. The food is on the high end but good, and the fact that they play live music on weekends is a plus.
Having said that, we decided to head to Heron for dinner, and received only poor treatment from them. This is a shock as I am from this city and have come here countless times. We didn't make a reservation (my bad, I know) but had to wait a long time, first, to get a hold of the waiter and subsequently to get a table - when there were clearly empty ones. When we finally got a table, she again took a long time to bring our food. My kalamari took forever to come. The food was nothing to write home about but still alright.
I Stopped in here one night as it is about a block away from my house. I treated myself to a great big New York Steak with frits. The steak was quite good but the frits were way too rich and the garlic butter dip that came with it was also extremly rich. The meal tasted great but was quite expensive and because it was so rich I ended up getting ill after eating there. A Steak and frits with one glass of wine ended up running me $37.00 Dollars!!!! The Atmosphere was excellent though, very quite with nice dim lighting .....a very comfortable setting. The Servie was also great and the waitress treated me very well. Unfortunately because I got ill after eating there I will not be returning.
It's supposed to be a hospitality industry. How is this place still open? It's claim to fame is mediocre food and incompetent and rude customer service. Arrogance is always the unwanted side dish served right to your table. Look at all the negative reviews here. They tell the true story of a badly run restaurant that has the message, "Customers are an inconvenience we'd prefer to do without."
Living around the corner, I’d been here quite a few times, usually during the week, and had even recommended this place to people I know. This weekend, though, our visit at 2 in the afternoon was nothing short of a “kitchen nightmare.”
What is the minimum any customer would want? I’d say a server who knows the menu, gets your order right, and, ultimately, good food. Our visit started badly when we were given water that reeked (and tasted) of chlorine. Of course, that could just be the water out of the tap, but when we told our server, she answered with annoyance, “No one else complained,” as though we were making it up or, more likely, trying to get our water comped. She didn’t know the soup of the day, the fish of the day, or very little else on the menu.
When we ordered, I specifically repeated twice that I did not want mushrooms on my steak sandwich (I’m extremely allergic). My mother, (who’s 81 by the way), asked for the vinaigrette on the side of her salad. Thirty minutes later when our food arrived, you guessed it: the steak sandwich was smothered in mushrooms and the vinaigrette was all over the salad. (Given that there were only 2 other people in the entire restaurant, how difficult was it to get our orders right, especially since the server seemed to write it down.)
I immediately told the server about my sandwich, which she acknowledged was covered in mushrooms. She said she’d take it back and they’d “scrape them off.” Really? I could do that myself. Doesn’t help the allergy situation, though. I told her to forget it. That’s when she persisted on asking me if I wanted another one, something else, to look at the menu again, etc. I repeated that I didn’t want anything else. What was the point? The two people I was with had their food--none of use wanted to wait another 30 minutes. I had to watch them eat, as if I wanted to wait around so they could watch me eat.
Well, the chef/owner raced over and demanded I order something else. Again I repeated I didn’t want anything else. He persisted, actually arguing with me that “these things happen” and I “should calm down and get over it.” As bad as his customer service is, his ability to read a situation was worse. I didn’t want someone to be arguing with me as the other 2 people I was with were trying to eat. So I asked to “please” be left alone in peace.
He went ballistic. He insisted we leave immediately. (Imagine kicking an 81-year-old woman out?)
So we left.
As far as the food goes, let’s be honest. It’s above average by Victoria’s standards, but that isn’t saying much. It would be just mediocre in Vancouver, Toronto, and especially Montreal.
But the service is abysmal. All this server and owner had to do in this situation is apologize, ask if there’s anything they can do to correct the situation, and listen to what the customer wants. If he says “no,” respect that. Arguing with a customer unrelentingly just loses you a customer, their family, friends, and co-workers. Where I actively brought people to this restaurant, I’m now going to passionately dissuade them from going here.
If only to avoid the abuse.
If you want to spend $150 on dinner for three, and feel thoroughly ripped off and disappointed, then I highly recommend the Heron Rock Bistro.
I was excited to try this neighborhood eatery for the first time and was looking forward to a nice evening out. Unfortunately, this is not a good restaurant. The food was absolutely dreadful -- I could only eat a few mouthfuls of my salmon which was cold, dried out and served with undercooked asparagus. My friend had the pasta special and it was so awful tasting that he couldn't eat it at all. It was cold, old and had obviously been sitting under a lamp for a few hours.
The service was poor. They brought out our main courses and we didn't have any cutlery.
Please don't waste your hard earned money on this restaurant.
A table of 10, Saturday evening, and the specialty is steak and fries. 9 out of 10 people order a steak. The wait staff mis delivered 2 of them, and when one person had started to eat theirs, the wait staff wanted to take it away because it was supposed to be for someone else. Another steak had to be cooked, while the rest of us happily ate ours.
The wait staff seemed absolutely baffled if you told them that whatever they were delivering to you was not actually for you i.e. "Here is your caesar salad" to which I replied "I"m sorry, but I ordered the soup". They looked at you like you had changed your mind since they took the order!
Buns on the table were delivered, for 6 people only.....and there were 10 of us.
And how long can it possibly take to make dessert that was actually on the 'specials' board? We thought at one point they had gone out to get it ....
I'm sorry, but the food was mediocre and therefore overpriced for being mediocre. And the service was really poor.
We won't be returning and won't recommend the place to anyone.
My daughter and I went to this place on a Saturday. We should have been warned because there were many empty tables. The service was slow people who came later were served and when I wanted to place an order I was told an other waiter was serving us which took a while.
I had a hamburger with onions must have come from the day before. They were ice cold and just mixed with some ketchup?? yuk. The fries were re fried with many small burned pieces. My daughter had the eggs benedict with old potatoes as well. When we checked out it took a while because the servers had computer problems We are not going back
I love to frequent the Heron Rock. The food is great, especially at breakfast. The servers are educated and professional. The dinner bun they bring out before the meal are too die for. They use the same buns for their burgers, which is a little too rich for me. My favorite dinner item is the calamari, and for Breakfast you must try the Stilton Benny.
We went to the Heron rock for a friends birthday, with about a group of 12, and they were very accommodating. I hate the feeling that is emitted when dining with large groups sometimes. I find a lot of places in Victoria make you feel as if you are an inconvenience when you are with a large group.
The location of the restaurant is a little strange, off to the back side of the James Bay square, but I guess they make it work for them.
I have been to Heron Rock Bistro multiple times over the past few years, day and night.
1. Excellent. Fresh, cooked to perfection, mostly local and organic, and various housemade creations.
2. My favourite dinners have been the sesame-crusted Albacore Tuna (blue), as well as the Lamb Burger -- very flavourful and delicious fries. However, the chef(s) special(s) have hit the spot every time.
Service (2-4 stars):
1. Service is inconsistent. I have had very nice and very knowledgeable, as well as not particularly nice nor knowledgeable. They seem to have lost a few of their best servers, but overall it is still solid.
2. Owners are young locals and seem great.
3. I've been there on a very busy Sunday when they were understaffed on the floor. Food is expected to be slow, but the service couldn't keep up either. Forgivable for a newish/growing place.
Value (4 stars):
1. Some excellent value on the menu. Prices have gone up a bit over the years, but the place remains a good deal. They seem to have to keep their prices down to keep the locals but also raise prices to keep things local/organic, etc.
2. The neighbourhood feel of the place adds value, for me, as does the ambience.
Ambience (4-5 stars)
1. Usually a good-to-great ambience -- lively yet relaxing.
2. If you can, go on a night when there's live music. I have caught 2-3 amazing local acts there (various jazz).
3. I have been in for just a couple of drinks, before. They have a very nice bar (literally) as well as a nice selection of local brews. The coffee is really good, too.
4. Owners seem very nice and well-meaning. Have been continually improving the place and the menus.
This is a great neighbourhood bistro that I HIGHLY recommend. Except for the top few fine dining places in town, you rarely get consistently good service in Victoria (or Toronto, for that matter).
Go for the good, stay for the ambience, check out the brunch.
I live and work in James Bay, so I go to the Heron Rock fairly frequently (at least twice a month), usually for breakfast or lunch. Over the years, very little has changed... the service has always been slow and a bit unfriendly, but the food quality and convenient location always kind of made up for it. However, after my most recent experience, I have given them my business for the last time.
On that day, we arrived about 11:30 for lunch, and were seated fairly promptly. The server took our beverage order and it was also delivered promptly, although she did forget about our milk-not-cream request. When that was rectified, she took our orders - we were each having sandwiches with salad, so these arrived in a reasonable timeframe - about 15 minutes. However, as I was eating my salad, I discovered a hair on my sandwich, so I stopped eating to wait for the server, who had disappeared. About five minutes later, I flagged her down when she came out of the kitchen and she inspected the sandwich carefully before taking it back and telling me they would make me a new one, which arrived about ten minutes after that. By this time, my companion had finished his lunch, but his empty plate was left to linger until well after I was finished. Twenty minutes later, we finally found her to ask for our bill, and lo and behold, the sandwich had been charged to me.
At this point, the manager happened to come over to ask how our meal was, and we told him about the hair. He did not apologize, but simply made a joke. When the server returned, we asked her if my meal would be comped and she informed us after another ten minute conference in the kitchen that they could do it this time, but they wouldn't normally do it because a new sandwich had been made for me. So... if I get another hairy sandwich at the Heron Rock, that will be the policy? Uh... I don't think it's good practice to tell me about "the next time" that this might happen... I'd prefer to think that it was a rare occurrence.... right?
We paid the remainder of our bill and left feeling ripped off. We did feel slightly vindicated to notice that while this was happening, three tables were seated and then left because their orders were not taken and they were tired of waiting.
Sorry Heron Rock... I'm going elsewhere next time.
I'm always on the look out for places that are open on a Sunday morning that serve breakfast, as opposed to a late morning brunch.
I'd heard about Heron Rock via a few friends, and I'm glad I listened. I ordered the regular 2 eggs, bacon, hashbrowns & toast breaky, while my dad had the 3 eggs, bacon & ham w/ hashbrowns & toast. The eggs were delicious with a bright orange yolk. Bacon was thick sliced, and had nice flavour. The sausage seemed to be a british style, with a celery/pepper seasoning (which is a nice chance over those flavourless breakfast links most places serve). The hashbrown were panfried with some caramlized onion, but without much other seasoning. The sourdough toast had a bit of a bite - the only thing we were missing were jam for the toast, but at that point I was so full I didn't care. I'll be back again to check out their omelets soon.
And after looking at the rest of the menu, I'll def go back to try out their chef's dinner special.
The Heron Rock Bistro is a perfect example of a neighbourhood restaurant that unfortunatly is a little hard to discover, but once you do I garuntee you will be back time and time again. This fresh bistro offers a very diverse menu, that can cater to any member of the family. Anything from the Salmon Benedict for breakfast to the nightly 3-Course Frugal Feasts are above and beyond what your taste buds are expecting. I have enjoyed the experience many times and am always excited to see what fresh new ideas they have to offer. Needless to say this is one of my favorite spots to dine in and enjoy a relaxing atmosphere with exciting new flavours every time. Take the time to check this place out, you won't be dissapointed.
We saw this restaurant on the news awhile back (profiling their stilton cheese cake) and always wanted to give it a try. Decided to dine on Wednesday night after work. We were greeted immediately and seated at a booth. The waiter was very attentive, taking our drink order while we reviewed the menu and bringing us the BEST bread and butter to start our meal with. Our food was delivered to us within 15-20 minutes. I ordered the fish and chips + a pint special. That night the 2 piece fish was tempura beer battered red snapper; OMG! the best fish I have ever had. This came with purple cabbage cole slaw, fries (or salad if you prefer) and the best tartar sauce. My partner had the lamb burger with stilton cheese and chipolte onion relish; he was raving about this burger through the entire meal. The meal, including one beer each, came to $43.00 + my $6.00 tip. The background music was pleasant, and the ambiance was enjoyable. My only complaint - put some better cushioning on the booth seats. Great job, we will be back. Too bad we didn't have room for dessert - next time.
Party of 3 on a quiet afternoon. There is nobody in the restaurant, yet we have to wait 30 minutes to be seated despite our reservation. I am a pollo vegetarian (chicken only) so this was of utmost priority.... there was ONE choice of dish on the menu for me, so I ordered it. I was handed my chicken, bit into it and believed it to be FISH. I called the waitress over to ask what it was? "Chicken. It's chicken." I ate it, then found out it was *definitely* fish (bones) and ran to the washroom to vomit. I called the waitress over again to point out the error and the results of that error (vomiting and sick). "You ate it. I will not take it off the bill." I paid an inordinate amount of money to be ill.
NOT WORTH MONEY AT ALL. I'D RATHER STARVE THAN GO BACK TO THIS RESTAURANT.
This is not the place for take-out, everytime I have called ahead so I can pick up food at lunch (which no other place struggles so hard with), they can't do it on time. I've been given different excuses like, they want it to be fresh so it tastes good, or that they get ripped off by people placing orders. Well after a few times, one would think maybe they could write me a reference for picking up the food I order. The only thing that keep me coming back is the best veggie burger in town. It's really good. I've had a benny there, which was good too but very low on the sauce (Maybe a by-product of take-out too).
I was taken here for my birthday by a friend who lives in the neighbourhood. We had heard good things about the food. We went on a Wed. night. I ordered the lamb shanks and my friend had the albacore tuna. When it was served, neither dish was hot, just barely warm. We waited for the waiter to come by to re-heat the dishes but he never re-appeared. We waited a very long time for the plates to be cleared. Finally another waiter cleared the table and asked how dinner was. We explained about the poor service and warm food. She had the original waiter come over and apologize but didn't comp the meal or offer a reduction. I wrote a long letter to the owners explaining our bad experience but never received a response. I'll never go back.
Last Friday night i was walking around James Bay and stumbled across this gem, the Heron Rock Bistro. i walked in and within seconds, despite the place being fairly busy, i was greeted by a friendly staff member, and was seated at the bar (i volunteered as i wanted to leave the other larger tables for other larger groups). It was friday night and suprisingly enough, there was a great bluesy/funky trio about to play a set (they have live music on friday nights), and i had front row seats! I enjoyed the 'crantini' that the bartended (who is also one of the owners ) made for me, not only because it was tasty, but because it was 2 ounces and on feature for 4$, cant beat that! I soon ordered, and out came some warm fresh house made bread for me to eat. all i can say is "mmmmm", my starter came out shortly, the fresh Quadra Island Mussels, in a Curry Cream cilantro broth... very good, and i could not believe the size of them! I followed the mussels with "steak frites" a AAA reserve striploin cut to order with classic home cut fries (#3 best on island fries in TC). the steak was probably the best i have ever had, the flavour from the carmalized shallot and balsamic butter melted on top of the steak, and the tenderness. the fries... well, they should have been #1 on the island. even though i was full , i decided that i would have to sample a dessert, after another crantini. i finished with a Chocolate mousse dome (dark chocolate mousse on a chocolate sponge cake, and covered in ganashe, and served with a berry coulis), which was amazing. what a great find in james bay, for dinner especially, although i hear that they serve up a fine breakfast and lunch, ill have to go back!